*The case was heard at the Family Law Court. 

A JUDGE has extended an Interim Care Order (ICO) for a nine day old baby due to concerns over the baby girl’s mother’s ability to care for her.

At the Family Law Court, Judge Mary Larkin extended the ICO for the new born by 28 days following an application by TUSLA, the Child and Family Agency (CFA).

The baby’s mother is scheduled to enter a five month drug treatment programme next week and Judge Larkin told the mother, “I am delighted you’re going into treatment. Now get clean and put yourself in a position where the CFA are in a position to believe that you are able to manage this baby”.

Solicitor for the CFA, Kevin Sherry said that the CFA initially secured the ICO for the baby on Tuesday at a different court, the baby was only six days old at this time and had been discharged the same day from a maternity hospital with her mother.

Judge Larkin extended the ICO after a TUSLA social worker told the court that the mother, then at 36 weeks pregnant, had placed herself and her then unborn baby “at serious risk” when she initiated an assault with another person where during the course of the assault, the then expectant mother “ended up being thrown to the ground and being kicked and kneed in the stomach”.

The social worker also stated that the woman continued to smoke cannabis during the pregnancy but did state that her last number of drug tests have been negative.

Mr Sherry said that the woman “to her credit has insight” into her drug addiction issues and has put herself forward for treatment

The social worker further stated that the woman has a Safety Order against her ex-partner and has continued to allow the ex partner into her life where he recently breached the SO.

She said, “He has engaged in serious domestic violence – he has hit her with a cable and kicked her, pushed her and slapped her”.

The social worker stated that the woman’s four other children are subject of full Care Orders dating back a number of years ago.

The social worker stated, “we need to see a motivational change and see if she has capacity to cater for the baby’s needs” before reunification with the baby occurs.

She said, “The four older children were in severe neglect and we need to make sure that it doesn’t happen with this child also”.

The baby is currently at a general foster placement. The CFA social worker told Judge Larkin that the baby has shown no side effects from the mother’s drug taking and is healthy.

The social worker said that the baby “is doing well so far in foster placement” and there would be weekly access between mother and baby while she is in the treatment centre.

The mother was representing herself in the case and told Judge Larkin, “I don’t want to be without her”.

The mother told Judge Larkin that the initial plan with the CFA was that the baby would be allowed to join her at the drug treatment centre as they allow mothers and babies to attend.

She said, “I would give anything in my power that she would come in with me – or soon after”.

The mother said that she was with the baby in hospital before the two were discharged and she said that a report from the hospital showed that she took really good care of her, and met all her needs including her emotional needs.

She told Judge Larkin, “I really have the capacity to look after her”. She added “Newborn babies – they need that connection and they need their mother”.

The woman told Judge Larkin that the assault incident was completely out of character and there were particular circumstances involved. She said, “That not the way I normally carry myself”.

Judge Larkin told the woman, “There is a past history in relation to other children in care and past behaviour is usually indicative of future behaviour”.

Concerning the assault incident, Judge Larkin said, “You allowed your own child and your own health be put in serious jeopardy. This child cannot be subject to anything like that when it can be avoided”.

Judge Larkin extended the ICO and adjourned the case to next month.

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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